Delicious Oven-Cooked Barbecue Brisket... Seriously

Categories: Meat!, Recipes

brisket-four-loko.jpg
The un-holy alliance of brisket burger and Four Loko.
Okay, before you go on and on about how "real brisket is smoked by manly men with manly intentions" and all that, let me just preface this by saying my father did the majority of the cooking in our house and made one of the most incredible briskets in the history of cattle. And he did it in the smoker I believe he considered his most prized possession.

What I am about to detail for you is not a brisket that is designed to satisfy the purist barbecue eater (seemingly an oxymoronic concept to begin with), but rather a damn fine alternative when you, like so many apartment dwellers, don't have access to a grill or a smoker but want some tasty barbecued meat.

Before July 4, I had only made a couple briskets in my life, both on the smoker like Dad's. But, I wanted to make one for a party and didn't have access to a grill or a smoker, leaving me to improvise. I was alerted to a post by Eating Our Words' Christine Ha about barbecue spice rub, which also had an oven-prepared brisket recipe that sounded promising. I did a little more research online and found that one of my favorite food magazines, Cooks Illustrated, had a recipe as well that, unfortunately, involved a grill for part of the process.

I decided to get creative and grafted part of the CI recipe onto the post from EOW. The results were pleasantly surprising, and, after having repeated the procedure now four times, remarkably consistent.

The Ingredients:

7-10 pounds Lean Brisket
1 Cup of Barbecue Spice Rub (my choice was the delicious rub from B&W Meat Market - 4801 N. Shepherd)
2 1/2 oz Barbecue Sauce (preferably sweet, either store-bought or homemade)

brisket-rub.jpg
Photo by Jeff Balke
Rubbed down and almost ready for the oven.
When choosing a brisket for this recipe, it's important to note that it should not be overly fatty. On a grill or in a smoker, meat has a tendency to dry out and, often, the more fat, the juicier the meat. As you'll see in this recipe, you'll have plenty of fat to render if you trim the brisket down to about a quarter inch of fat on the fatty side. If you want to avoid the hassle of trimming, have your butcher do it or buy one pre-trimmed.

Rinse the meat and pat it dry with a paper towel. Coat the entire brisket in the spice rub -- get into every nook and cranny. It's called a rub for a reason. You'll need to gently rub the spice into the meat; getting every square inch ensures an evenly flavored meat. Cover with tin foil and put in the refrigerator for at least three hours, preferably overnight. This can be done 24 to 36 hours in advance and, generally speaking, the longer the brisket has to absorb the rub, the better.

After the brisket has had time to, in Emeril parlance, "get happy," remove it from the fridge and let the meat come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees for "low and slow" cooking.

brisket-wrap-thumb.jpg
Photo by Jeff Balke
Thumbs up for the brisket all snug inside its tinfoil pouch.
Wrap the entire slab o' beef in tin foil and seal it as tightly as possible fat side up, which will allow the rendered fat to baste the meat while cooking. I used regular old tin foil and it worked fine, but you can use the more heavy-duty stuff if you like. I recommend using one sheet on the bottom and pulling the edges up around the meat as this pouch is going to seal in a LOT of moisture and you don't want it all spilling out.

Once you have sealed the seasoned brisket inside the tin foil, place it in either a roasting pan or on a baking sheet with sides. Invariably, some of the juices will find their way through that seal and no one wants to clean an oven of brisket drippings.

Cook for approximately 45 minutes per pound. In many brisket recipes, I found a one-hour-per-pound rule. Because additional cooking will be done later, I found a 45-minute-per-pound ratio works best.

brisket-cooked.jpg
Photo by Jeff Balke
What it should look like out of the oven before trimming the fat.
I recommend checking it after it has gone about three-quarters of the way. The meat needs to be fork-tender throughout. Keep in mind that because of the way this is cooked, it is a VERY tender meat when it emerges from the oven. Minus the char that comes from the grill, it is difficult to get the classic solid slices of beef from the leaner side of the brisket the longer it stays in the oven. So, peal off a hunk from the thick "plank" end and see how it is. If it is tender and cooked through, remove the brisket from the oven, discard the tin foil and place it on a cutting board to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

Carve off as much of the fat as you deem necessary (some like a fattier meat and others not so much). Then, slice the beef against the grain and place the pieces into a baking dish. Pour the half cup of drippings over the chopped and screwed sliced meat and then cover the entire brisket in barbecue sauce. The type of sauce is your choice, but I found that using a sweeter sauce (I went with Stubbs sweet mesquite because I didn't want to attempt making a sauce my first go 'round and it worked beautifully) was a real crowd pleaser, eliciting responses like, "This tastes like meat candy." I also think the added sugar caramelized nicely during the meat's second pass through the oven.

brisket-done.jpg
Photo by Jeff Balke
Meat candy all done and ready to serve.
Cover the baking dish in tin foil and place back in the oven at the same temperature for one hour after which, you can turn the oven down to its lowest setting to keep the brisket warm until you are ready to serve. 

The key step in the process that turns this from average baked brisket into delicious "meat candy" is the the addition of the sauce. Instead of trying to mimic the smokiness from a grill I didn't have, the barbecue sauce gave it a wonderful flavor that complemented the spice rub and kept everyone so distracted with how good it was, no one had time to ponder "real" barbecue.

brisket-burger.jpg
Photo by Jeff Balke
The Brisket Burger!
I like to have mine on a bun with some pickles and a little mayo. Fellow EOW contributor Lauren Marmaduke discovered yet another application she calls the "brisket burger," essentially piling brisket on top of a grilled burger (pictured). I'm sure both options will bring groans from meat purists, but, as I said, this is not for purists. This is just a good way to make brisket (and give yourself the meat sweats) when you don't have all the tools available to do it the traditional way. And, I can tell you from experience, people love it. Each time I've made this brisket, the entire baking dish was picked clean before anyone could say "leftovers."



Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords
My Voice Nation Help
12 comments
Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

Jeff, I tried this today (Saturday). Seasoned the brisket last night, let it sit in the fridge overnight, popped it in the oven this morning. We just took it out to slice it and add the Q sauce, and it already tastes fantastic. Not sure I can wait another hour.

Oh yeah, we got a $40 12-lb brisket at Randall's for $25 with our shopper card.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

I'm not doing brisket this way, but my friend just showed me a great steak recipe from the oven that'd rival anything from the grill. 

Salt and Pepper the Steak (and any other seasoning) JUST prior to placing in oven.  Place steak on cooling rack on a cookie sheet in oven at 275 for 20 min. (This allows heat to get underneath.)  Then sear in very hot cast iron skillet for 2 minutes a side. Rest with a pat of butter and loosely cover in tinfoil for 5-10 minutes and enjoy. This gives you a med. Rare cook all the way through.

Fay
Fay

My brisket is a hybrid.  Do all the seasoning stuff as mentioned.  Put on grill for about 4 hours. Transfer to over and cook at 200 for 4 hours.  Tender but still has that bbq crust on the outside.

Texmex01
Texmex01

Um sir, please pull over and relinquish your man card, you obviously do not need it anymore.....

Eric Henao
Eric Henao

Nice, I'll have to give this one a try. BTW - where do you get your nails done? Picture 3…

Albert Nurick
Albert Nurick

Baked brisket can be delicious, but it's not BBQ.  Jeff, you're now on probation.  One more slip and we ship you to the SEC.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

So. Yeah. I've basically had meat sweats all weekend. I couldn't find the Stubb's Q sauce you recommended so I bought Stubb's Honey Pecan instead and ZOMG. Meatlicious.

Jeff
Jeff

If I had a grill or access to one, that is how I'd do mine as well. Hell, if I had the ability, I'd just get a smoker, but living in an apartment often creates these sorts of issues, which is how I came up with this in the first place.

Wyatt
Wyatt

Man card sounds like some kind of gay thing, not that there's anything wrong with that

Bruce R
Bruce R

A man card is only needed in borderline cases.  Kind of like being carded when you're 21.

Jeff
Jeff

Ask my girlfriend. :)

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...